June 15, 2011

Gizzard, milt and other goodies

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It's kind of weird to be having dinner in Taipei with friends from Hong Kong, but that's what I did tonight.  A friend who I'll be seeing in a few days back in Hong Kong was in town, and very kindly asked me to join him for dinner.  A local wine merchant had chosen Ming Fu (明福餐廳), a local institution serving Taiwanese fare that I'd never been to.

The place is in an old part of town, and the setting is just as I expected - no decor, crowded tables, and I had to sit on a cheap stool and squeeze in.  There was a company hosting a dinner next to us, with 3 tables making lots of noise (25 or so female staff and 2 men...)  I can see why it's popular with some and not with others.

The menu seems to have been pre-set, so the food just started arriving in quick succession after everyone arrived...

Blanched prawns (白灼蝦) - served cold so it's got a nice bite.  Lovely with natural sweetness. 

Steamed local chicken (白切土雞) - these are chickens raised locally in the traditional method... meaning they run around and look for their own food, instead of being fed at a factory farm.  The skin is naturally golden, earning the name of golden chicken (黃金雞).  The thick breast is very, very chewy... not because it's dry - it's actually very juicy - but because the chicken isn't young and actually gets enough exercise.  For many who really love chicken as a meat, this is becoming increasingly difficult to find.

Oysters with garlic sauce (蒜泥香蚵) - the oysters were actually very fat and silky, with the overpowering mashed garlic and Chinese parsley that is so popular in Taiwan. 

Stir-fried bird's nest fern (野菜山蘇) - this is typical of Taiwanese cuisine, and stir-fried with black beans and anchovies.  Smooth, almost slippery surface with a crunchy texture.

Baked baby abalone (燒烤九孔) - with a very Taiwanese touch of squeezing some mayo on top before baking...and caramelizing some of the mayo.  The "baby abalone (九孔)" was pretty good, but the mayo kinda dominated the flavors.

Poached bamboo shoots - traditionally served cold with mayo on the side.  I prefer the natural sweetness of the shoots on its own.

Deep-fried mullet gizzard (蒜酥烏魚腱) - something I definitely have never had before... I have to say it was pretty delish, with a very crunchy texture.  Of course, having been battered in garlic and deep-fried helps a lot, too...

Deep-fried pig intestines (脆皮肥腸) - OMG these were some of the best pig's intestines I've ever had... The outer layer was really crispy, but the inner lining was soooo fatty and rich...  Obviously they decided not to remove or thin out the lining, which was very unhealthy but exactly how things should be done!  Interestingly this was served on a bed of basil.

Stir-fried mullet milt (炒烏魚鰾) - not a fan of sperm, so I literally nibbled on it once and left it on my plate...

Three-cup squid (三杯中卷) - Taiwanese cuisine is famous for its various dishes with "three-cup" ingredients, meaning it is made with one cup each of rice wine, soy sauce and sesame seed oil.  Basil also features prominently, and everything is mixed together in a very hot wok or claypot.  I thought the squid was definitely overcooked...

Deep-fried taro balls with red bean (紅豆芋泥球) - I enjoyed this more than expected. 

There was a hodgepodge selection of wines, many of which came from the wine merchant.  My offer to bring a nice bottle of Californian Cab was bluntly rejected...

2008 Lou Dumont Bourgogne Blanc Cuvée Famille - a biodynamic cuvée. Nose was a little oxidized. Ripe and sweet on the palate, but there's some acidity there for balance.

2005 François Villard Condrieu DePoncins - over the hill for a Condrieu... especially in a ripe year like 2005. Nose of minerals and lemon but none of the floral notes a Viognier should have... Ripe and sweet on the palate.

1997 Dominique Laurent Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Les Suchots - very open, soft and floral. Fruity with a little plum, and some leather. A very lovely wine.

1998 Denis Mortet Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Lavaux St-Jacques - nose was pretty closed at first, with a little mint and a light body. Gradually opened up a little.


Ali said...

A person on Instagram using the name 'itstheoenophile' stole your photo of the 1998 denis mortet lavaux saint-Jacques and is passing it off like they drank it themselves just days ago in 2017. Here's the picture: https://instagram.com/p/BXISJLDFsAp/

Peech said...

Thank you for letting me know, Ali!


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